How To Set Up a Tennis Net Using the Husa Single's Sticks

The Simple Version

Use the mark on the edge of the Husa Single's Stick to set the net height at the center strap to 36" height.

If singles are to be played on the court, use the mark on the edge of the Husa Single's Stick to place the center of the stick 36" outside of the single's court, measuring from the outside edge of the line. The stick should be threaded through the net near the top and the bottom, to keep it in place.

This level of care is sufficient for typical recreational matches.

The Complete Net Setup- in Excruciating Detail

The net is an integral part of the game, as it poses the barrier between opponents. Proper net set up, such as described here, is appropriate for tournament play at all levels. The complete net setup has three parts, checking for net repair (holes), setting the net tension, and setting the height of the net, including singles sticks, when singles are to be played.

Net Condition

First, look over the net for any torn material that might leave a hole large enough for a tennis ball to pass through. On heavily used nets, this is often just below the tape at the top. Use heavy twine or nylon tie-wraps to hold the holes closed.

Setting Net Tension- not for the timid

The USTA Friend At Court recommends a procedure that simply requires a tape measure. I will describe this method, adding several steps born out of my experience to make the procedure safer for your courts.

Safer? Ordinary use and temperature changes causes the net's cable to stretch, relaxing the tension. Yet to tighten the net brings an opportunity to damage the net or post. Net cables can snap. Net posts can be drawn inward at the top. A properly tensioned net is quite taut. A ball clipping the top of a properly tensioned net is more likely to pop up than to push through with a slight deviation of the flight path.

The USTA method begins with unclipping the center strap, allowing the top of the net to rise a bit. Properly installed net posts place the top edge of the net 42" above the court surface. In my experience, courts are not likely to measure as close as 1/4" of being correct, and may be an inch low, or two inches high! This causes problems when using the USTA method without some additional attention.

In the USTA method, one adjusts the tension to bring the center of the unrestrained (by center strap) net up to a height of 40". Thus the weight of the net is allowed to pull the net down by just two inches. Let that "2 inches" be your guide. If your net posts measure 41" instead of 42", then it is more appropriate to use tension to bring the height of the net up to 39" and not 40". If you were to try to bring the height of the net to 40", you would be over-tensioning the net and probably damaging the equipment.

Conversely, if your net posts measure 43" (and I have seen some higher), then it would seem more appropriate to use tension to set the unrestrained height to 41", but I don't recommend this. You are still drawing then net down to 36", and I can't predict what the effect is to have drawn the net down 5" with the center strap. For this reason, I recommend a slack height of 40" as a maximum. This may result in a net more slack than would have been achieved on a properly built court, but this approach is conservative in that it is not likely to damage equipment in the process.

Set the Net Height

Reconnect the center net strap to the ring in the court surface, being sure that the strap does not completely encircle the dangling net, holding it up off the court. The USTA requirement is that the net extend all the way to the surface. The strap can be fed through one of the net holes several rows up from the bottom to accomplish the desired effect.

Using a tape measure, or the mark on the Husa Single's Stick, set the height of the net at the center strap to 36". The preferred technique is to stand on the court opposite the side that has the adjustment buckles. One may then hold the net down slightly with your tummy to yield enough slack to make your adjustment. To do otherwise is just plain difficult.

If singles are to be played on the court, use the mark on the edge of the Husa Single's Stick (or a tape measure) to place the center of the stick 36" outside of the single's court, measuring from the outside edge of the line. The stick should be threaded through the net near the top and the bottom, to keep it in place during play. It is desirable to insert the second stick from the opposite side of the net than the first. This tends to keep the net better in alignment across the court. When standing back from the net, the left and right sides should appear 'different' with the center section of the single's stick appearing on the left or right side but not the other.

Trouble Shooting

Q: The single's sticks seem to just hang in the net, without much tension to hold them in place. What gives?

A: . The net posts are higher than required (42" to top of net) by an inch or more. This will cause the sticks to hang lifelessly in the net, without lifting the net significantly (it should come up around 2"). Just leave the sticks out, under these circumstances.

Q: The net keeps popping out of the single's sticks when a ball strikes the net near the post. What can I do?

A: The most likely cause is insufficient net tension. A properly tensioned net will seldom come out during play. A second cause might be the wadding of net strap material under the cable, lifting it too high in the notch. Try rolling just the cable into the groove, leaving most of the white strap to hang over the side of the stick. Remember, the net should be held 42" above the court. Wadding stuff under the cable may compromise this dimension. Thirdly, the posts may be too high. See first answer (above).

Q: I hear a loud squeal while turning the handle to tighten the net, and it turns hard, to boot. What should I do?

A: Gears in the crank mechanism lose their lubrication over time increasing the resistance to rotation. Do not turn any harder than you 'gut' tells you is safe. It is possible to shear pins in the worm gear assembly, rendering the device useless. You may be able to spray a lubricant on the gears to help. Do not over-tighten.

Q: I need more sticks. Can I make them myself?

A: Please do! I have written detailed instructions for you on the web at

E. Ivar Husa